My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2016

Today I have my penultimate End-Of-Year List: My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2016. I started by ranking My Twelve 2016 Blind Spot Movies then did a list of My Top Ten Books Read In 2016.

I’ll finish these last two days with movie lists. Tomorrow I’ll post My Top Ten Movies Of 2016 (movies I saw that were released this year in the UK). That list is always the most popular as the majority of people like reading about very current films. However, I always enjoy making this “Movies Watched At Home” list slightly more. It’s more varied and quite often contains better films overall as they’re from a variety of years plus I try to (force myself to) watch some classics each year. However, I have to say that this year has been a good year for new films & a lot of the 2016 films would make an amalgamated Top Ten List of absolutely every movie I watched this year. I love the word “amalgamated”…

But it’s easier to do two separate lists! So here are My Top Ten Movies Watched In 2016 (but not released in 2016). And, as I saw so many good ones this year, I’ll count down from 20. And, if that’s not enough for you, I’ve ranked & rated ALL 79 of them HERE. Ha! I’m sad. πŸ˜‰

(Oh, I should also add that these are FIRST TIME watches only. I don’t count re-watches so things like the fantastic Freaks, which I re-watched & reviewed for the recent At The Circus Blogathon, aren’t included)

Honorable Mentions:

20. Magic
19. THX 1138
18. Turbo Kid
17. Running On Empty
16. Stories We Tell
15. Trick ‘r Treat
14. The Cat Returns
13. The Wind Rises
12. For A Few Dollars More
11. Play Misty For Me

Top Ten:

10. Wizards

9. Circle

8. Ikiru

7. Battle Royale

6. Natural Born Killers

5. Predestination

4. Space Station 76

3. Akira

2. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

1. In Your Eyes

**Yep – I have quite a few classics here but my number one is a modern romance movie written by Joss Whedon. As you can tell from the rest, I’m not exactly a “girly” girl but I did love In Your Eyes. A romantic movie that worked & didn’t make me want to puke! And I was totally in love with the guy. How adorable is he in that picture? His character was such a sweetheart.

Also, I’m glad I managed to review most of my favorites this year (links above). I’m planning to do themed weeks (or months) in 2017 with those I’ve not yet reviewed. I’ll have a Studio Ghibli Week, an Akira Kurosawa Week, and possibly a month of animated films when I’ll review things like Wizards. Am looking forward to focusing on more non-Disney, non-Pixar animations in 2017.

See you tomorrow for my final post of 2016: My Top Ten Movies Released In 2016 (That I’ve managed to see, obviously. I can’t watch everything!). πŸ™‚

Advertisements

My Top Ten Books Read In 2016

Welcome to Day Two of my annoying End-Of-Year Lists! Today I’m ranking the thirteen books that I read in 2016 (but it’s still a Top Ten as I didn’t really like the bottom three very much). As always, I rank things according to my own personal taste. For example, number 13 is a far better & more well-written book than 12 or 11 – I just enjoyed 12 & 11 slightly more. I’m also quite proud that I somehow managed to review them all (poorly, though – I suck at book reviews even more than movie reviews) so I’ve included the links to what I said about each.

So now, counting down to my very favorite, these are all the books that I read in 2016:

Three Not-So-Great:

13. Straight White Male by John Niven

12. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

11. The Death Cure by James Dashner

Top Ten Much-Better-Ones:

10. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

9. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

8. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

6. The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

5. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

4. Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

3. The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

2. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

1. The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Can I just say that, while I highly recommend at least my top seven, I want to give a special mention to Joe Hill’s 20th Century Ghosts. I’ve now read several of his books after wanting to find out if he was as good as his father (Stephen King). I’ve really enjoyed all his books so far but, finally, 20th Century Ghosts is one that I really loved. As with all short story collections, some stories are much stronger than others. But the best ones are fantastic!

**See you for two more end-of-year lists over the next two days. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a list of My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2016 then will end on Friday with My Top Ten Movies Released In 2016 (going by UK release dates). πŸ™‚

My 2016 Blind Spot Movies: Ranked

Happy “Almost End Of 2016”, everyone! Let’s kick this year in the balls & move on. But first, I’m doing my End-Of-Year Lists for the rest of this week. List-making is the BEST & it’s totally sad how much I look forward to making these at the end of each year.

I’ll start today by ranking My Twelve 2016 Blind Spot Movies. As always, I’ll count down to my personal favorite. I have to say that I chose wisely last January, though – I enjoyed every single one of these so there are no “losers” on this list. I of course wanted to love them all but I can say that all of these are definitely worth your time if you’re interested in them.

Here we go! Counting down to my favorite, with the links to my full reviews included:

12. Eyes Without A Face

11. An Education

10. True Romance

9. Summer Wars

8. Phenomena

7. Magic

6. THX 1138

5. Running On Empty

4. Play Misty For Me

3. Battle Royale

2. Natural Born Killers

1. Akira

**I switched my Top Three around SO many times! I’m still not sure of the order of those but the Top Three are easily my favorites on this list & ahead of the others by a long way. See you tomorrow for My Top Ten Books Read In 2016. πŸ™‚

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (Book Review)

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Batoru Rowaiaru
Japanese: γƒγƒˆγƒ«γƒ»γƒ­γƒ―γ‚€γ‚’γƒ«

What It’s About: (via Wikipedia)
The story tells of junior high school students who are forced to fight each other to the death in a program run by the authoritarian Japanese government, now known as the Republic of Greater East Asia.

My Thoughts:

I watched the Battle Royale movie as one of my Blind Spot choices this year (review HERE). I really liked it but my one complaint was that it felt a bit more “shallow” than I’d been expecting. So I picked up the (very thick!) book in the hopes that I’d get more of an in-depth look into why these children are being forced to fight to the death and to also get to know the characters and their motivations a bit better. I now have to say that reading the book if you’ve already seen the movie isn’t necessarily needed…

Don’t get me wrong – I liked the book a lot so I don’t feel like I wasted my time on this (very thick!) novel. I did get to know the characters better, especially the main three that are followed (Shuya Nanahara, Noriko Nakagawa & Shogo Kawada). It was also cool to get a good few pages or sometimes even several chapters (mostly on the best friends of our main character) devoted to each and every one of the 42 students in the Battle Royale program.

However, the film is quite faithful to the book & I didn’t learn much more than I did from the movie. And what did get changed for the film actually worked for the better, I think. This was especially true of the changes to the man in charge of the group, Kinpatsu Sakamochi. I was surprised to find, in the novel, that he actually has no prior attachment in any way to these students while there’s an interesting link in the film. Also, the film pushes the girl (Noriko Nakagawa) front and center a bit more while she’s the least-developed of the main characters in the book & it’s very much the boy (Shuya Nanahara) who is the star. The book’s male characters are better developed overall than its females are but, again, I did appreciate getting to know the extra characters in the book as the movie obviously couldn’t devote time to all 42 of them.

All in all, Battle Royale is a thoroughly entertaining (and gory) book & film. It has a message of sorts but I feel it’s sort of lost in the gore. I can now see why Quentin Tarantino loves the film as it feels like violence for the sake of violence. I do now have to admit that The Hunger Games is indeed very close plot-wise in so many ways that it’s understandable why Battle Royale fans called that series a rip-off. The Hunger Games is Battle-Royale-Lite, though – both are considered Young Adult in their country of origin but the violence is far more excessive in this novel. Just a warning – I doubt anyone will be handing this book over to their 13-year-old to read anyway. I feel kind of “bad” for enjoying this one as the violence seems excessive. But I really liked the main characters & getting to know all the other students, the action and pacing worked well, it was a fairly quick read (despite being very thick!), and that whole Lord Of The Flies setup is still an intriguing one. But you really can just watch the movie if you don’t fancy the (really thick!) novel.

My Rating: 4/5

My Blog’s July 2016 Recap

Happy August, everyone! August? When did that happen?! Well, it’s a new month so here’s my blog recap for July. πŸ™‚

POSTS

My Most Popular Post: My Ten Most Hated Movies Since Starting This Blog. I think this proves that people love a good bitchfest! I was starting to wonder if anyone looked at this blog anymore when I decided to put this post together on a day when I was in a really bad mood. I got loads of comments! I loved hearing from people who agreed with some of the movies I absolutely hated but also from many who disagreed as well (my hatred of Mary And Max & of Slumdog Millionaire was especially unpopular).

My Favorite Post: My Top Ten DJs/Disc Jockeys In Movies. This was a fun list to put together & one I’d been meaning to do for ages. I still love that, while researching this list, I discovered that a cartoon Skrillex was in Wreck-It Ralph.

MOVIES REVIEWED

My Most Popular Movie Review: Circle. This movie was a very pleasant surprise. This is the type of movie I love to blog about – good films that not many people have seen or maybe not even heard of & which deserve more attention. I think I talked a few people into watching it. Oh, and one of the lead actors also stopped by & left a comment so that was cool. I love when that happens! Glad that didn’t happen on my “Most Hated Movies” post…

All Movies Reviewed (ranked best to worst):
Battle Royale
Circle
People Like Us
The Secret Life Of Pets
We’re The Millers
Red Dawn (2012)

MOVIES WATCHED

In Cinema (ranked best to worst):
Finding Dory
The Secret Life Of Pets

At Home (ranked best to worst):
Battle Royale
Circle
Little Witch Academia
The Book Thief
Deathgasm
The Visit
Paper Towns
Finders Keepers (2014)

TOP TEN LISTS

Top Ten Tom Hanks Movies
Top Ten Harry Dean Stanton Movies
Ten Most Hated Movies Since Starting This Blog
Top Ten DJs/Disc Jockeys In Movies
Top Ten Kevin Spacey Movies

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: “gnome project x“. But spelled as “gnom” – how annoying. Well, variations of this search term pop up all the time. The “gnome giving the finger” in the movie Project X seems to be very popular!!

My Favorite Search Term: “jennifer balgobin weird science“. I like search terms for people I’ve never heard of. I had to look up Jennifer Balgobin. Turns out she was “Biker Chick” in Weird Science (which I reviewed HERE). Cool.

Here are my top search terms for the month:

BOOKS

Book Reviewed: Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

Book I’ve Just Finished: The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

Book I’m Currently Reading: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

I’ve been taking it easier & not posting as many reviews plus I’m doing simple Top Ten & Music Video posts as these don’t take up much of my time. I’m going to stick with doing things this way for now as I can keep up with the slower pace. It’s no longer a fun hobby if it becomes stressful! I was happy that I finally managed to watch Battle Royale for my July Blind Spot film as I really enjoyed that. I’ll watch my August Blind Spot film soon – what do you guys think of these choices? It was going to be El Topo but I keep putting that one off so may go with one of my alternates instead:

El Topo
Akira
Zodiac
The Raid
Running On Empty
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
House (Hausu) (1977)
Tetsuo
Solaris (1972)

Upcoming Movies:

There are quite a few movies coming out in August that I’m hoping to see. I wasn’t all that excited about Suicide Squad but I’m changing my mind now (mainly because that below poster for it is so awesome). I’m sure none of these will be great but I’m looking forward to The Shallows, Lights Out & The Purge: Election Year (I seem to be in the minority but I’m a fan of the first two Purge movies – you can see why in my reviews of the first movie & the sequel). It looks like the adaptation of Stephen King’s Cell is finally coming out this month?! I expect that to be horrible because of all the problems & delays that movie has had. What a shame as I really liked that book. I’ll still watch the movie, though, since I watch every King adaptation. Finally, I’m curious to see how the Pete’s Dragon remake turns out so I plan to take the kid to that. Remakes piss me off but this is one rare occasion where I have to admit that the original film is badly dated (even though I love it).

I always end these with a music clip related to something I watched/reviewed. Well, there weren’t any great soundtracks in the movies I watched this month so here’s a tribute to the Project X gnome! I didn’t like the movie but did like some of the songs in that film. My favorite was probably Pursuit Of Happiness by Kid Cudi (Steve Aoki remix).

Battle Royale (2000) Blind Spot Review

Battle Royale (2000)
Batoru Rowaiaruis
Japanese: γƒγƒˆγƒ«γƒ»γƒ­γƒ―γ‚€γ‚’γƒ«

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku

Based on Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Starring: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Masanobu Ando, Kou Shibasaki, Chiaki Kuriyama, Takeshi Kitano

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.

My Opinion:

Here’s a quick list of links to my 2016 Blind Spot Reviews so far, including where I’d rank Battle Royale:

7. An Education – 7/10
6. Summer Wars – 7/10
5. True Romance – 7/10
4. THX 1138 – 7.5/10
3. Play Misty For Me – 7.5/10
2. Battle Royale – 8/10
1. Natural Born Killers – 8/10

I put Battle Royale on my Blind Spot list as I really have wanted to see it for years. I put it off mainly because I’m kind of a wuss with violence so I was waiting for a time when the hubby could watch it with me (Thanks for finally watching this with me, dude!). I didn’t have to annoy him by asking him what was happening, though. It was of course violent but not “gross” – I was able to watch all of it. However, I think I’d hyped it up too much in my mind all these years as I’m sad to say that I was a bit disappointed with the movie overall.

Now, calm down Battle Royale lovers! πŸ˜‰ I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoyed it quite a bit & I think it’s one that might go up in my estimation once my initial disappointment has worn off. I’ve not read the book so I don’t know how faithful the movie is but I was surprised to find that it was far more shallow than I’d always imagined it must be. Maybe the book is a bit deeper & more of a social commentary? Has anyone here read the book? I have to say that I’m definitely now interested in checking it out to see how it differs as I did really like the story & characters.

I can see why Quentin Tarantino loves this film – it’s a thoroughly entertaining action movie with loads of violence that seems have no consequence. It’s a Japanese Tarantino movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I like his movies and do, first and foremost, want a movie to actually entertain me. Battle Royale certainly did that but it’s also nice when you’re entertained plus get a little something more as well… Anyway, it’s cool that Tarantino cast Chiaki Kuriyama (below) in Kill Bill as Gogo Yubari. One great thing about Battle Royale is that there were some really kick-ass female characters! I always love that.

It’s interesting that my two favorite Blind Spot movies so far are mega violent but I have to say that I thought Natural Born Killers was the better “film” whereas I think I enjoyed Battle Royale more. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that it’s one that will only go up in my estimation if I watch it again or read the book. I think it may just be that the message was more clear in Natural Born Killers than in Battle Royale (whether or not you agree with its use of excessive violence to show us how wrong it is to glorify violence).

I don’t mean for this review to sound so negative as I did really enjoy the film. I guess I’m still sorting through my feelings on it as I type this but I already know I like it even more now than when I watched it a week ago. It’s extremely rare that I re-watch movies nowadays (no time for that) but this is one I do want to re-visit fairly soon. I think one problem may be that Battle Royale has so many characters that it was hard to keep track of them all on the first watch. It’s also hard to fully develop so many characters but this movie did actually do quite a good job with even some of the lesser characters considering how little screen time they got. The main characters were very strong and the movie did well with them – I’d like to read the book for, hopefully, even more insight into everyone involved. I’m glad I put Battle Royale on my Blind Spot list, forcing me to finally watch it all these years later. I wish I’d seen it at the time as it probably would’ve had more impact on me in 2000 than post-Hunger Games (no, I won’t even begin with that comparison but I see now why people moaned about The Hunger Games being so similar). πŸ˜‰

My Rating: 8/10

My 2016 Blog Resolutions: Blind Spot Choices, IMDB Reviews & Taking It EasyΒ 

Happy New Year, everyone! πŸ™‚ I’ve already posted all my 2015 Top Ten Lists so here they are if you’re interested:

My Top Ten Movies Of 2015
My Top Ten Movies Watched At Home In 2015
My Top Ten Books Read In 2015 (and mini-reviews)

(I have to say that this was by far the best year for movies since I started this blog. I hope 2016 is as good of a year for film!)

I was actually very eager to get 2015 over & done with and to move onto 2016. It’s ridiculous as January 1st is just another day like any other but, for whatever reason, we all think we’re going to actually change for the better each year. πŸ˜‰ I like to think this actually works for some people and, this year, I have some pretty big resolutions that have nothing to do with the blog. So my biggest blog resolution is to, well, not spend so much time on it. To take it easy & not let a hobby that I really enjoy stress me out in any way. I’ll do what I can and skip what I can’t.

But I of course still want to keep up on my biggest hobby besides blogging, which is actually watching the movies that I blog about. So I’m adding just one new blogging project this year that I think should be fairly easily achievable (and, if I don’t manage to finish it by December 31st 2016, that’s life).

I’ve seen the Blind Spot Series being done on loads of blogs & keep saying every year that I should join in. Screw it – I’ve decided to do it. Basically, it appears that you choose 12 movies that you’ve always been meaning & wanting to watch but, for whatever reason, just never got around to them. Is that correct?

I have such a huge list of movies like that and, of course, a lot will eventually be done by me as part of my IMDB Top 250 Challenge anyway (more about that later). A lot of people seem to pick very “worthy” stuff but my list isn’t going to contain any Citizen Kane-type films since that’s all in the IMDB Top 250 so I’ll torture myself with those at some point. No – my 12 are movies that I actively want to watch, not ones I know I’ll have to force myself to watch. That’s been the case with most of the Top 250 films I’ve watched – I do love them once I’ve seen them but getting around to watching them is a damn chore.

So here are My 12 Blind Spot Choices For 2016, most of which are pretty highly regarded but not necessarily “worthy classics”:

True Romance

THX 1138

El Topo

Natural Born Killers

Battle Royale

Akira

Summer Wars

An Education

The City Of Lost Children

Magic

Phenomena

Eyes Without A Face

My main reasoning for choosing most of these? I went through the big “Watchlist” I have and tried to choose things that I already own (I’m broke!). The only two that I don’t have are the last two so, if I find that I really can’t afford to buy them, these are some alternates (and a good start to Blind Spot 2017, I guess!):

Play Misty For Me
Zodiac
The Raid
Running On Empty
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
House (Hausu) (1977)
Tetsuo
Solaris (1972)

Now, moving onto my IMDB thing…

It’s been three years now since I started my IMDB Top 250 Project on 01/01/13. As there have been many changes to the list since then, I’ve decided to finally work off of an updated 01/01/16 version (see “additions” at the bottom of THIS PAGE – there are 34 new movies that have been added to the Top 250).

As always, this is mainly a project for me to complete (I’m reviewing the movies I’ve never seen plus some favorites). If you really want to do a guest review, the available films that I don’t plan to do myself are below. If you sign up, you have one month to get your review to me before it goes back on the Available list below. I won’t be keeping close track of who signs up for what – I’ll just add the movies to the “Selected” section.

I hope no one takes this the wrong way but I need to start fresh. A lot of these films were signed up for a long time ago but I can no longer keep track of who said which ones they’d do, especially as several have changed hands more than once. If you are one of the people who signed up for one of these, let me know if you DO still want to join in. Thanks everybody! πŸ™‚

AVAILABLE TO BE REVIEWED:

Cool Hand Luke 1967
The Wrestler 2008
The Lives of Others 2006
The Sting 1973
Die Hard 1988
LΓ©on 1994
The Hobbit 2012
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991
Rain Man 1988
Taxi Driver 1976
Gone with the Wind 1939
NEW ADDITIONS AS OF 2016:
The Best Years of Our Lives 1946
Before Sunrise 1995
Before Sunset 2004
Life Is Beautiful 1997

**Selected for now**
Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels 1998 (Tom)
To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 (Tom)
2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 (Drew)

Depending on the response, I may give up some of my favorites I’d kept for myself to do (Jaws, Blade Runner, Indiana Jones, etc etc).

I hope you all have a wonderful 2016! It’s great to still see everyone who has stuck around in the three years I’ve been doing this blogging thing but I hope that you’re all happy outside of this online thing as well. If you need to take a break from this, take a break. It’s something you can always come back to now & then.

Besides the IMDB thing, I have three other ongoing projects that I’m not going to rush in any way as I know I can do them if and when I feel like it. These personal projects are to watch all of John Carpenter’s films, all the Studio Ghibli films, and most of Akira Kurosawa’s films. I’ve done well on Studio Ghibli so far (you can see all my existing reviews HERE) and I’m happy to say that, so far, I’ve watched two films in 2016: Ghibli’s Whisper Of The Heart and Kurosawa’s Ikiru (also a new entry into the Top 250). So I’m not giving up on movie blogging just yet! But, damn – now I guess I have to do the hard part of actually reviewing those two… Ha!

For now, though, I’m taking a break from posting anything for the next week. Or two. πŸ™‚